Hanes Once-a-year sale at NOLA stores

Hanes Once-a-year sale at NOLA stores

Hanes hosiery co-op ads at various NOLA stores.

nola stores

NOLA stores and Hanes

In the 1970s, Hanes, known for ladies hosiery and underwear, held a “once-a-year” sale. Various NOLA stores, Maison Blanche, D.H. Holmes, Labiche’s, and Gus Mayer, participated in the sale. They leveraged ad budgets by placing Hanes-specific ads for the sale. These “co-op” ads were paid for mostly by the manufacturer. So, the store promoted their brand and the product brand at the same time.

The sale in 1973 took place over the weekend of 13-January. NOLA stores enticed women to come in for the pantyhose and other items on sale. It’s fun to look at the styles from the advertising and art departments of the local stores.

Maison Blanche

westside shopping center

Sign for Maison Blanche in the parking lot of Westside, August, 1958. Sonny Randon Photography via the West Bank Beacon.

OK, yes, I’m a homer. I wrote a book on MB, so we start there. “Hanes sheer-madness annual sale of fashion hosiery in popular shades.” Note the mail-order form as part of the ad. Stores in 1973 were 901 Canal Street, Airline Village, Clearview, Gentilly Woods (The Plaza wouldn’t open until 1974), and Westside.


nola stores

The talented artists at Labiche’s opted for a bolder presentation than MB. A woman wearing nothing but a scarf in her hair and jewelry, and the pantyhose. Gorgeous. Stores for Labiche’s: 714 Canal Street, Carrollton (the old shopping center, where Costco is now), Gentilly Woods, and Westside.


nola stores

Daniel Henry Holmes’ dry good store on Canal Street grew to a number of suburban locations after WWII. In addition to the flagship store, Holmes locations included Lakeside Shopping Center, Oakwood, Baton Rouge, and Houma. While Holmes didn’t have a Gentilly store, they opened a location in The Plaza in 1974.

Gus Mayer

Originally in the 801 block of Canal Street, just up from Holmes, Gus Mayer built a big store across the street in 1948, demolishing the old Pickwick Hotel building. They also participated in the Hanes sale promotion. Gus Mayer operated not only the Canal Street store, but one at Elysian Fields and Gentilly  Blvd., as well as Carrollton, Clearview, and Oakwood Shopping Centers. While Gus Mayer ATNM as NOLA stores go, they still have stores in Birmingham, Alabama.


nola stores

Godchaux’s originally occupied the 501 block of Canal, later moving to the 801 block, next to the Boston Club. By the 1970s, they expanded to Lakeside and Edgewater Plaza in Biloxi. Their take on Hanes was different than the other NOLA stores. Godchaux’s opted for a cold-weather appeal,

Godchaux Building 1916

Godchaux Building 1916

The Godchaux Building stood in the 501 block of Canal Street.

godchaux building

Godchaux Building

Postcard of Canal Street, 1916. The Godchaux Building, at 527 Canal, rises in the foreground, right. The 501 block numbering begins with the building across the Dorsiere  Street from the Godchaux Building. The Maison Blanche Building, 901 Canal Street, stands to the left. The streetcars operating in the “Canal Street Zone” are single-truck Brills and Ford, Bacon, and Davis.

Leon Godchaux

Godchaux, an Alsatian Jew, came to the United States in 1837. He opened a dry goods store on Canal Street in 1845. Leon leveraged the profitable store to buy the town of Bonnet Carre, in St. John the Baptist Parish. Changing the town’s name to Reserve, he acquired a number of sugar cane plantations in the area. Eventually, his sugar cane holdings totaled twelve plantations. To process that raw sugar cane, Godchaux built what would become the largest sugar refinery in the country.

While Godchaux operated his store on Canal corner Chartres, his company erected this building in 1892. It housed both the retail store and offices for the sugar businesses. The building stood just a few blocks away from the Louisiana Sugar Exchange, which opened in 1883. The Sugar Exchange was a co-operative filtering tower and molasses warehouse, at Iberville Street and the river.

Retail Store

Godchaux’s the store re-located to the Macheca Building, at 828 Canal Street, in 1926. The store expanded, acquiring an annex whose entrance faced Baronne Street, in the 100 block. The store expanded to the suburbs in 1960. They opened a Godchaux’s in Lakeside Shopping Center, at Causeway and Veterans, in Metairie.

Leon Godchaux’s daughter, Blanche, married Leon Fellman. Fellman, another New Orleans retailer, started out with his brother, Bernard, later opening his own store, first in the 901 block of Canal, then moving it to 800 Canal. Fellman also built the first storefront of Krauss Department Store, at 1201 Canal Street.


The Godchaux Building was demolished in 1972. The Marriott Hotel Canal Street stands in the 501 block now.

Department Store Ads – Godchaux’s

Department Store Ads – Godchaux’s

Department store ads over generations are fun.

department store ads

Department Store Ads

Ads for Godchaux’s Department Store. The first appeared in the Loyola Maroon in 1929. The second demonstrated the store’s sort for the New Orleans Opera Guild. It appeared in the program for “Romeo and Juliet” in 1947.

Godchaux’s on Canal

Yesterday, local author (and someone I’m proud to call friend) Derby Gisclair shared a photo of the Macheca Building at 828 Canal Street (next to the Boston Club). This building was the second Canal Street home of Godchaux’s Department Store. The store moved from 501 to 828 Canal after World War II.

So, the 1929 ad lured shoppers to the 501 Canal Street location. This building housed offices for several of Leon Godchaux’s business interests. Those included his sugar cane farms and processing plants. The family opened a retail store in 1840. The lower floors of the building housed the store. Marriott acquired the 501 block and demolished the building in the early 1970s. The block now features the chain’s hi-rise hotel.

Down the block

As the 501 Canal building aged, the store sought out a new location. The building at 828 Canal served downtown as commercial office space. After World War II, Godchaux’s bought the building. They renovated the interior and moved the store in 1947. Godchaux’s remained at the location until the chain closed the downtown store in the 1980s. After that, the Lakeside store assumed the mantle of flagship location.

The Ads

The Maroon ad from 6-December-1929 promotes the “Established English University styles” of Charter Suits. Manufacturers paid for these “co-op” ads. The ad sold a particular brand, with mention of the local store carrying it. The Maroon regularly presented department store ads to the students.

The 1947 Opera Guild ad for Godchaux’s features their hats. Ladies attending the opera required the right hat. The Millinery Department on the store’s sixth floor enticed opera-goers with a charming hat selection.


Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19


I’ve presented this talk to several groups in the last year or so. With everyone holed up because of Covid-19, I did the talk yesterday (19-March) via Zoom. It’s a bit long, because I was sorting out the use of Zoom, so you’ll need to fast-forward through the first 20 minutes of the talk to get to its actual beginning.

Also, TIL: it’s too long for YouTube. I’ll edit out that first portion and get it up there over the weekend. If you’d like to view it now, the link will let you download the MP4 version.



Chartres Street at Canal Street, 1890-91 – Bobtails and Wall Ads

Chartres Street at Canal Street, 1890-91 – Bobtails and Wall Ads

Chartres Street was one block down from the Clay Monument

Chartres Street

600 block of Canal at Chartres, 1890. (Mugnier photo)

Chartres Street

From the book, New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line, this is a Mugnier photo of Chartres Street at Canal. The Custom house is barely visible in the background. The trees in the neutral ground masked the streetcar tracks and activity. Because this is a winter photo, they’re barren.

The shoe store at the left of the photo anchors the Touro Buildings in the 700 block. The 600 block lacks the Godchaux Building. That dates the photo prior to 1892. The electric pole means the photo dates no earlier than 1890. The bare trees indicates this is likely the winter of 1890-91.


Leon Godchaux, the sugar magnate, demolished the buildings on 600 Canal in 1891. In their place, he erected a six-story retail/office building. That building survived until 1969. It was demolished to make way for what is now the Marriott Hotel Canal Street.

Mule-drawn streetcars on electrified streets

The streetcar in the background is a Johnson “Bobtail” car. These mule-drawn cars operated on the Canal line until 1895. Street electrification started in the late 1880s. Electric lighting replaced gas lamps. So, as the street lighting changed, commercial buildings desired lighted signs. Interior electrification allowed retail stores and shops extended business hours.

Fading signs

When I wrote the Canal streetcar book in 2004, I didn’t give much thought to “fading signs.” Even later on, when I wrote the Maison Blanche book, I looked past most of them. The new book changed the way I look at some of these photos. Because I’ve examined most of the walls of Canal Street buildings, this ad at Chartres and Canal caught my eye. I didn’t remember it. That’s because it vanished a year after this photo! Godchaux’s building contained too many windows to make a solid canvas for an ad.

So, what did this sign sell? I see:

World is the
<something> GER

I can’t make sense of that. Anybody have an idea?